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Tom Allen Education. (2013) 'Dangerous Convictions What's Really Wrong With the U.S. Congress.'

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Iraq 12, Washington 7, Us 6, George Bush 5, U.s. 4, America 4, David Petraeus 3, Rick Perry 3, Tom Mann 3, United States 3, Obama 3, David Brooks 3, Newt Gingrich 3, Maine 3, Mitchell 2, California 2, Hawaii 2, Donald Rumsfeld 2, Jimmy Carter 2, Baghdad 2,
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  CSPAN    Book TV    Tom Allen  Education.  (2013) 'Dangerous  
   Convictions What's Really Wrong With the U.S. Congress.'  

    February 23, 2013
    8:45 - 10:00am EST  

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makes absolutely no sense. because we don't use that logic in any other part of our lives. if you went to a dry cleaner down the street and of every ten shirt that is you took them seven of them came back with a huge burn mark on them, what would you do? you'd stop going. what be the people said, wait, you can't stop giving us your business and your money because we need your money to be able to invest in new equipment and to train our employees. and if you take your business away, we're not going to be able to do that. what would you say? you'd say not with my shirts, buddy. so if we are willing to take that much care with our laundry, shouldn't we take at least that much care with our can kids? and not be willing to say, okay, let's continue to invest in this thing that has failed for generations and hope that maybe someday it may get better in meanwhile, our kids are not
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getting the skills that they need. it makes no sense. >> ladies and gentlemen, we're going to have to cut it there with the questions -- i'm sorry -- because, again, michelle has to go on piers morgan -- >> i think you guys are going to be a little nice we are the questions than pix ers is. >> before we close it out, i just want to make a couple of notes. firstly, i'd really like to thank a old and dear friend for making this incredible event possible, and that's leslie cohen who anthony briefly mentioned. also anybody that has any stake in education and if they want to get involved, it's completely up to them, studentsfirst.org is doing, according to many critics and others, is doing all types of interesting work. also most importantly, the book -- i see there's a lady right h a question before, she has two or three books. the book has received incredible reviews. if you have any stake in education or if education means anything to you personally, your kids, your family, future of the
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country, according to many individuals it's a must read. and i strongly recommend. so in that note please join me in thanking michelle rhee -- [applause] >> michelle rhee is the founder and ceo of students first. to find out more visit students first.org. >> are you interested in being a part of booktv's online book club? every month we'll feature a different book and author, and your invited to join. interested? send an e-mail to booktv@cspan.org. post a comment on facebook.com/booktv. or send us a tweet @booktv. >> you're watching booktv. and now tom allen, former six-term democratic congressman
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from maine, as he recount cans his own inability to understand his republican colleagues and vice versa during his tenure and contends that congress will remain locked on legislation until they start to understand each other. this is just over an hour. [applause] >> tony, thank you very much for those kind words. and thank you all for being here tonight. this is a wonderful crowd, and i'm very pleased to see so many of you here. i have to say it's a special pleasure for me to be at the jimmy carter library because my late father was one of those very early in the carter presidential campaign who went to hear this governor, former governor from georgia, was very impressed, wrote some sort of check and became a big fan of jimmy carter's throughout his career. and i wish my father could see me now, because i know he would
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be excited. but it is, so i thank you for that. i also want to say that this is an opportunity to discuss, you know, the things we've been through as a country over the last few years and to try to figure out what's gone wrong and how we can make it right. and that's a conversation that really the more people that are involved in it, the better off we really are. first thing i will say about dangerous convictions is to give you a sense of why i wrote it. someone has said that you write to scratch an itch or to deal with something that's bothering you, and that is certainly the case with this book. and i would say first of all there is -- this may come as no surprise to you -- a real frustration with how the media, the mainstream media and the partisan media, covers what politicians do in congress.
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a lot of frustration that you simply can't say completely what you want to say either about what the problems are or what you're trying to do. and the second thing is that there is, it was in my case, considerable confusion about my republican colleagues. and so what i -- confusion about what they were really thinking. so i spent the better part of four years thinking and writing about revising this book. i do, as tony said, work for the association of the american publishers, and i have to say being an advocate for the publishing industry for the publishers and the authors and all the people who are involved in it, being an author has given me another, an inside look at that industry. and i have to say how grateful i am to oxford university press to its incredible team of people who helped make this book better than when i delivered it to them. so let me, i'm going to read a
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few selections from the book and then walk you through the chapters, a few of them not in too much detail, and then i want to conclude by some comments on the, on the presidential election. i'm going to begin, first of all, if i get this right, by explaining the title. tony, if this only worked. [laughter] that way. i can do without it. although if there's some way to make it work for later on, that would be good. the title, "dangerous conductions," comes from a statement by friedrich knee chi who wrote convictions are more dangerous enemies of truth than lies. now, we all want people elected to be people of conviction,
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right? don't we? the trouble is that sometimes people hold convictions that are not supported by the weight of evidence or expertise. and when that happens, let's just say life gets very, very complicated. i'm just going to jump ahead slightly. do these guys believe what they are saying? sitting in the chamber of the u.s. house of representatives listening to a heated debate, we asked that question of our republican colleagues. we usually thought the answer was no, but if so, they were phenomenally good actors. their arguments made no sense to us. such well-worn phrases such as tax cuts pay for themselves, climate change is improving and government-run health care doesn't work. they were repeated over and over
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again. republican arguments along these lines seemed incomprehensible to democrats just as ours seemed misguiding to them. the evidence that mattered to us made no difference to them. the free market principles they took as given conflicted with the information that we took every day from our constituents and the economists that we consulted. news media preoccupation with lack of civility missed the point. i traveled with republican members of congress to iraq and afghanistan and enjoyed their company. we worked out together in the house gym. still, more time socializing with each other would not have closed the chasm between our competing views of the world and the role of government. it's those world views and the lack of come prehence -- comprehension on both sides that cripple the capacity of congress to make bipartisan, strategic public policy decisions. this i came to see is our
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greatest institutional weaknesses, and it defies simplistic cures. congress today is deeply divided because to each side the opinions of the other make no sense. and, therefore, cannot be honestly held. interest group politics is still with us fueled by unprecedented amounts of money, but it is overlaid and often dominated by what i can only call world view politics, a clash of values and convictions much deeper than the competition of interest groups in washington. we need a new perspective to visualize congressional polarization. the media and political commentators typically bemoan the wide gap in views between right and left. but republicans and democrats speak past each other not because they are too far apart on the left/right spectrum, but because they operate on different planes, higher and
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lower from the ground defined by evidence and expertise. and that, i would say, is something that has changed significantly in the last 20 years. when i came to congress in 1996, the phrase i kept hearing from the other side was fam lu values. -- family values. and you can kind of, we all had a sense, probably a varied sense, of what that means. you don't hear that phrase anymore. what you hear in its place is republican principles. and it turns out that there is really one fundamentally important republican principle, and that is smaller government, lower taxes. i think it's one, not two. it's really one. and that turns out to be much more difficult to deal with than the vaguer notion of family values. what i've tried to do in this book is spinning topics -- is pick topics to consider that are not those that are like
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abortion, gay marriage, even immigration. those things that are so deeply buried in our sort of fundamental attitudes toward the world that, you know, you would expect them to be very, very difficult. so what i did was to pick, i tried to pick four topics, substantive topics where in the past we used to be able to compromise differences across the aisle. not always easy, don't get me wrong. but, and that was of the federal budget, iraq, health care and climate change. so what i would like to do now is to run through the first of those, of those sectors. i served on the budget committee for four years, the last four years i was in congress. and paul ryan was on the committee then. we invited economists to come in, and there was this sameness to our conversations all the
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time. the republicans would repeat over and over again tax cuts pay for themselves. or if they stepped back from that a little bit, they would say tax cuts pay for themselves, or at least you don't have to really think of too hard about the reduction in revenues. and yet at the same time we all realize about the first bush tax cut which was designed to be a $1.6 trillion tax cut. the reason it was described as a $1.6 trillion tax cut was because it reduced revenues by $1.6 trillion or was expected to. and so we'd be listening to people talking about tax cuts pay for themselves, and you'd pick up the paper, or you'd look at materials from the congressional budget office, and they would say, well, this tax cut is going to reduce federal revenues by 1.6 trillion over ten years or 1.35 trillion over ten years. these views made no sense. these two kinds of statements
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put side by side. they make no sense. it's crazy making for those of us who still believe the cbo. but for the republicans, most of them, they didn't believe the cbo numbers were right. because they were mostly supply siders or that form of economic theory where the assumption is that if you reduce tax cuts, it will stimulate the economy so much that it will actually come close to, if not actually increase federal revenues. but when we heard that, it made no sense. now, here's where it really gets, you know, i think in some withdraws even worse. -- in some ways even worse. i'm going to find -- i have to say, mitch mcconnell does provide me with a lot of material. [laughter] in 2010 the two big tax cuts were '01 and '03. in 2010 mitch -- at a time when,
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you know, it was pretty clear that that first decade would yield revenue reductions on a scale of somewhere between two and three trillion dollars over the first ten years. mitch mcconnell said to the press, july 2010, he confirmed the next day that what john, senator jon kyl had said a few days earlier was accurate. mcconnell said: there's no evidence whatsoever that the bush tax cuts actually diminished revenue. they increased revenue because of the vibrancy of these tax cuts in the economy. so i think what senator kyl was expressing was the view of virtually every republican on that subject. and i would say, as i say here, this is no kind word for, that you can say in response to that. they're making this up. they have to be making this up. but do they believe it? i think they do.
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i mean, the truth is i think they do. i think one of the things in the last two chapters that i spent some time with is a lot of the recent research about how we think or don't think about religion this politics and -- in politics and how so many of the views that we believe, all of us, are carefully reasoned and thought out are grounded in some deeper attitudes, some deeper values, some deeper life experiences, what i call world views that really shape our more specific beliefs both in religion and in politics. ..
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the essential chart for understanding the consequences of our budget conundrum. what it shows is as of may of 2011, the center for budget policy and policies and priorities, based on cbo numbers, this shows part of the annual deficits that are due to the war in iraq and afghanistan, the bush era tax cuts, recovery measures, that means primarily the bush stimulus and obama stimulus program and the
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economic downturn, you can still make it out and you can see from where we are today in 2013 at the time this was put together the single biggest factor in the annual deficits that we will experience over the next several years, not from the economic slowdown but because of the revenues that were taken away by the bush tax cuts. as we all know now because of the legislation, some portion of that tax revenue is shown on this chart as being lost will be recovered because proper income tax payers, they're going to go back to the clinton era tax relief. the point i am trying to make with this one chart, this is the real world and the idea tax cuts favored themselves is not the real world and when one side believes one thing and one side believes the other there's not much room for a consequence.
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i will come back to why and this should be how you think about this one. why is it that the two sides believed such different things? why does one depend on evidence and the other depend more on broad principles about the size of government and individual liberty and so forth and so on? let me if i can do this, let me go back and let me move on to the experience with iraq. you all understand most people would agree the signature issue for the bush administration, the one that had the most consequence and the ones that will shape the bush administration's place in history, tax cuts and invasion of iraq. you can imagine how difficult these decisions were and with
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respect to iraq before going in and giving hundreds of billions of dollars you can imagine it took a lot of meetings to decide whether or not to make that decision and if so how do we do it and because that is the way it is. you can imagine those meetings of the national security council and bush's security circle you can imagine those meetings but there was not a single meeting held by the national security council or the george bush's top people about whether or not to invade iraq. not one. not one. what that tells you is the evidence, the detail, the circumstances in iraq, what would happen, what the consequences would be of putting in 150,000 american troops, should have been more, what was not taken into account.
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second thing that is interesting is donald rumsfeld believed you go in, take over baghdad and pull out. because, and this came out in the report written four years later, came out because donald rumsfeld gave a speech in february before the invasion, said we have to go in and pull our troops out and leave the iraqis to their own devices because otherwise we will create dependency among the iraqis. think about this phrase, culture of dependency. we know it came up in the debate in the clinton administration with welfare reform, but to understand where republicans are coming to at least republicans in congress these days it is very important to understand how real, how important it is their view is that government in fringes on personal liberty almost no matter what it does
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and fosters dependency among the population. but those convictions, those views were an obstacle even to having a conversation between secretary of state and secretary of defense under george bush, a real conversation, whether or not the invasion in iraq should take place or the country should do more by way of sanctions and other forms of pressure. the interesting thing to me about what has happened in iraq, something i got completely wrong. when the president in december of 2006 basically asked -- lost control of congress, decided to do a surge in iraq, people like me fought this is stupid, iraq is going really badly, really, really bad knee, this is just an effort to delay the day of reckoning, we have to have a different strategy. what i didn't know and what a
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lot of people didn't know is the surge was not just in increase in the number of troops, it wasn't a different strategy. what is fascinating about this, see the book by tom ridge called a gamble if you want to learn more about it. three people, retired general jack keene, in baghdad and the number 2 person in military hierarchy, and david petraeus decided the strategy of protecting american troops in these large -- not bunkers but large compounds was not working at all and they had to be out among the people, had to defend the civilian population and so the surge involved that transformation and the truth is that it -- if it wasn't the whole reason we regained ground later in 2007, was an important part of the reason.
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it was an evidence based strategy. it was an evidence based strategy. i think and i described in here it was so different from the original strategy. general david petraeus cooked up a real counterinsurgency strategy like what general david petraeus had done before and that is one of the reasons why it got turned around. let me step forward quickly to health care. the interesting thing about this issue, several interesting things, let's talk about obamacare for a minute. credit -- incredibly controversial, passed without one single democratic vote in the house and senate. what were its origins? lots of people in the course of hearing about this know whether mitt romney did something like that in massachusetts. you can go back farther, you can
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go back to 1989, stuart butler of the heritage foundation came up with something called the heritage plan. what did the heritage plan include? included regulated exchanges in which private insurance company would compete for beneficiary and it included an individual mandate. it was actually for more than a decade primarily a republican idea about how you could do -- close to universal health care. but the mid part of august of 2005, democrats were getting more interested, republicans were falling away and i think that that is the republican universal health care plan but by the time it came up obama was for and no republicans were for it and even olympia snowe in our state him a real effort to work
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on a compromise position eventually bailed out in part because pressure to conform was so great. as you remember repeal and replace, repeal and replace was the mantra after it passed on the republican side. why didn't we ever see a plan to replace? obamacare? really, because it involved government action on a scale republicans could not accept. this goes back to what i was saying before a little bit earlier. for many of them, this is not about trying to figure out how to serve, how to expand health care. what they are primarily worried about is this feeling that government infringes on personal liberty and creates dependency among the population and therefore almost anything we do in some of these areas is to be
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resisted and i will come back to it but that is why the capacity to cross the aisle is so difficult because we are basically talking about very different world views. i want to go to chapter 5 which is climate change, denial of public policy. here is one of the clearest cases because scientific evidence that the earth is warming, carbon emissions and other man-made emissions are the primary cause and that we are facing some catastrophic consequences and expenses down the road if we don't deal with it. so why do we have such trouble even admitting it? and i would say -- here is -- basic background, the red lines migrating for the right hand
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side since the late 1950s in hawaii, they have been taking atmospheric measurements of carbon dioxide concentration and it goes up and down every year based on the seasons but that trend line never changes course, it just goes up and up and up and up. but a lot of people don't realize a lot of that carbon dioxide, a third of is getting absorbed by the oceans and the third is getting absorbed by the oceans. when it gets into the ocean it turns into carbonic acid so the oceans to they are becoming more acidic at a rate faster than any time in the last 50 to 1 hundred million years. that lower line, that green line that bounces up and down is the measurement of the the age at
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the station near month low in hawaii. this is one of the greatest threats to the planet that comes from climate change because the more acidic the ocean water, the more likely it is to destroy and i'm in destroy or prevent even from growing tiny organisms at the bottom of the food chain in the ocean. if you kill off the bottom of the food chain, the consequences are incredibly alarming. one of the things i did in congress was develop a bill that would emphasize doing much more research on ocean acidification. i built bipartisan support, republicans and democrats on board but it was a new program, new money, so by the time it gets to the leadership it died until the 2008 election when obama took office and put that part of the programming to the stimulus package.
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so now we are finally trying to get information on the consequences and there is a lot we don't know. the last two chapters on this book in this book are really about what i mentioned before briefly, we think about politics as if we were reasoning at all times, but in truth there is this huge gap in the way people think about politics and how they form a political and religious views. let me read a couple paragraphs that i think will help shed some light. democrats see republicans says inattentive to evidence and expertise, and concerned about americans struggling to get by, reflexively opposed to government action to deal with
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our collective challenges. on the other hand republicans see democrats as the party of a government that routinely infringes on personal freedom, as creators of a culture of dependency among people who should stand on their own, promoted the change from traditional values that will leave us weaker than before. these different perspective as drive congressional dates far more than the immediate subject before the house on any given day. above all the abiding clash between the view of government as a vehicle for the common good and the view of government as an obstacle to progress and personal freedom fit close to the center of our ideological gridlock. that is why i believe congress is best characterized as a floor for interest group politics overlaid by world view politics and the latter struggle contributes more to the dysfunctional nature of the institution. couple more comments and i will
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say a few words, two brief reading is here and then i will turn to the 2012 election which is not in the book because book was written before and. despite the 24/7 coverage of congress most reporting and commentary misses the conflict and world view that beneath the surface of the debate shakes our positions and intensified polarization. as a result, the diagnosis is often incivility which is a symptom, not the disease. the remedy usually proposed contracts past and present, highlights what we have lost and suggest we try to recapture the past. for example in an earlier era members of congress tended to live in washington with their families and socialize the cross party lines on evenings and weekends. the ability of president reagan and tip o'neill to enjoy each other's company is often seen as an example how to make the
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divided federal government work. more senior members of congress when retiring often lament that those days are gone but we are not going back. members are expected to spend more time talking with constituents, their spouses and children and children are less willing to be uprooted from their jobs, schools and friends to move to washington although stronger personal relationships help members work together, cannot realistically be fostered by a return to the living and commuting patterns of an earlier era. greater mutual understanding would have to be a deliberate undertaking by those willing to reach out. i am going to -- i said to someone before this began, the hardest part of this is trying to figure out riding the last chapter, trying to explain where do we go from here? in my work through working with the issues that confront us
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there are four areas, ideas and attitudes, areas where we are deficient, we are especially deficient in these areas in the way the media covers politics and also deficient from the radical individualism that some republicans, have taken over -- i have to go back to this quickly. this is part of the conversation, this is an illuminating study. group of people at george washington and george mason at yale, a study called six americans. unlike the conventional poll, they basically segmented the population based on how they felt about climate change and what other activities they did,
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how engaged they were in that topic and the group that they chose were the alarm, the people most concerned, the concerned, the next most active, the cautious, the disengage, the doubtful. this chart is a measure of which of those groups are most engage in political activity. take a look. this is a picture of polarization in america. on the left had signed the alarm to make up 18% of the population. 95% of them in response to a question say there is no way they're going to change their views that climate change is a major threat and a real danger and needs to be taken seriously. on the other side the dismissive and the doubtful. put those together and they are 18%.
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they are the next most-active groups in their community. 90% of those people say there is no way that they are going to change their view that climate change is a hoax, it is no long term problem, will never cause us any problems, part of the natural cycle of things. the truth is it would be almost impossible simply by providing scientific evidence to persuade the doubtful and this missive that what they believe is not true because they are so determined in their belief, because the consequence of be leaving the alternative means government would have to do--take a much larger role, certainly with leadership and certainly in other respects as well, probably regulatory to deal with this problem if it is a problem. that deeper reason why it is so
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hard for some people to believe the climate change is a serious problem, because if they admit that, then their whole view of government is and what it means to our individual self-reliance vanishedes. i have talked coming back now to this is what i think is wrong with the way the media covers politics and with the way we think about politics. respect for evidence. how often have you heard what is your evidence for that? not nearly enough. not nearly enough. i remember when i was in congress getting calls from reporters, would drive me crazy, a reporter would call and say i have a question for you. he would ask me the question and after one answer he would say guess that is all i have.
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i knew he had the story entirely written except for one blank which said quote from, allen. he put in the quote and was gone. that kind of coverage is difficult. we now have vehemently partisan me and a mainstream media but the mainstream media accept for public television and public radio don't give enough time to a lot of these topics to really inform. there are a few other exceptions. power of ambiguity. here is an example that struck me during the campaign. the 2012 campaign. you remember rick perry? rick perry came on looking like a good candidate for the republican side and then he stood up and was asked, he said there are three federal agencies he wanted to eliminate and then he couldn't remember one of them
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and wound up saying hoops, and that moves was in the news for a week. remember? 24/7. what is this going to do to his campaign? doesn't know what he is talking about. nobody at least once i heard, i never heard anybody say suppose you he eliminate the department of commerce. $4 billion to $5 billion of the department of congress -- commerce is noaa which provides all of our weather information, virtually all of it, has the satellite in the sky, tracking what is going on to some extent in the oceans too. what do you do to that 4 to $5 billion? i know now because of the work we do in the book publishing industry the department of commerce is over there in a china trying to make sure the chinese government understands when we sell books, when we
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bring books to china, they will do everything they can to make sure they are not being sold or pirated or copied or sold somewhere else. the department of energy, that was one of the three. the department of energy regulates oil and gas drilling. if you eliminate that department, what happens? the department of education funds 12% of the u.s. k-12 educational system. the department of education, what happens? those were the questions that should have been asked of rick perry because those are the questions that might break through the differences people have, the federal government is too big, eliminate the department and those who say we have a role to play in education but it is that data, that evidence that are really quite
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important. with that said -- let me go back one second. caring about consequences. what i mean is it is more about health care than anything else. fifty million people uninsured or close to fifty million people uninsured not to come of a plan to deal with it seems to me just to be an unbelievable acceptance of a condition that once you understand what it means for people in society, to risk getting sick or going bankrupt and dropping out of college, once you understand that you really need to do something about that particular problem. the fourth is commitment to the common good. when james madison was putting this constitution together, what he was trying to do, he was trying to figure out how to set up a set of institutions that
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would encourage people not just to act in their own individual interests but in what he called permanent and aggregate interests of the community. the common good. that is hard to achieve but if we don't even try to figure out how to come to a shared conception of the common good we are in trouble. so now i am going to wrap. with the election. how many of you saw the president's second inaugural or heard it? most of you. i was fascinated by the reaction to some of the commentators. a couple columnists from the washington post who said it is a pedestrian speech, it was flat, no soaring vision. i thought was great. you know where i am coming from.
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and then i read david brooks's column in the new york times was fascinating. i believe i think you can gather that american politics is about me and we, self-reliance and cooperation, individualism and community and those parts of the american psyche which ought to be in balance have been split apart and we have a war on our most fundamental values, a war between two sides, each claiming one part of what i would say is one half of the american psyche. what david brooks did was to say that was one of the best inaugurals in the last 50 years and explain why. and explain why it fell short because it didn't mention wall
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street, state street, menlo park, all those places where the creative ingenuity of americans has burst forth from the way it couldn't in other countries and it was all about me versus we. i think, i believe that what we need in this society at this moment in time is we need to understand, whichever camp we are in, we need to understand the deep reasons why for some americans self-reliance, individualism, fear of dependency is such -- so real land can touch and feel it. got to understand that if we are on the other side and if you are in that camp i would ask and hope more people say to themselves this is the 20 first century, not the nineteenth. the challenges we face are so
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complicated. they are not even national challenges. climate change is a global challenge. the health of the population has a lot to do with the health of our economy. inequality in american society has a lot to do with our capacity for future economic growth. we have to get this right. what i hope for this book is called quote it is the perspective of a democrat in congress it is a perspective about ideas that separate us and which fifth balanced would bring us back together and so i ask that you give some thought to that in your own lives and have other books to recommend too. for that i am going to stop and say thank you, appreciate the chance to be here. [applause] >> let's take 10 or 15 minutes worth of questions. if you have a question please raise your hand and they will
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bring a microphone to you. please wait until the microphone is in front of you. first question, question over here. >> thank you for your thoughts. i am curious in your perspective why is it we complain about congress but so many congressman get reelected? the second thing i am curious, more of your personal perspective, you have been in the inner sanctum, the holy grail of the political system. now that you are on the outside, what is one thing we the public don't really get from your side of being a political elected official? >> first, the question is how do members of congress get reelected when the place is such a mess, i could re-enter for what you are saying. i have told many people during the years i was in congress, i
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am relatively certain that i shook more hands of the 650,000 people in my district than any other him and being. you get to know people and if you listen to them and it is an overwhelming job, a 24/7 job. the job i have now doesn't require me to work most saturdays and most sundays all day and that 1 off and did. and i think that you just get to know so many people and to the extent you're listening and at least trying to appreciate what they are going through, that personal connection will carry you a long way no matter which side of the aisle you are on. so that is the primary reason. from the inside, what i would say is i believe members of congress on both sides of the aisle come to congress with a vision of what they want to
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accomplish and they all are frustrated. they all are frustrated. i don't care which side of the aisle. because it is so hard to realize your dreams for what you would like to accomplish for your constituents when there is this constant battling that is so difficult to get anything done. the review who are old enough to remember the comic strip pogo will remember he said we have met the enemy and he is us and to a large extent the public has demands on congressman and they are incompatible. the most fundamental of which is this. when i was first elected to the city council i went to the city manager and talked to him about pride and things. he said here is your job. we have a capital improvement
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plan. the things we have to do over the next ten years and it costs so many million dollars and he said here is the problem. the public collectively is not willing to pay for what the public collectively wants. and is so true. is even truer in congress. the expectation is there can be current or more service delivered in an efficient, professional way for less money and the math doesn't work. you can do more with less once in awhile but year after year after year you simply can't and that is the most difficult thing for people to understand. you look at the gap that i've put up their about the vast amount drained by the bush tax cuts, some of that has gone back but only some of it because by and large the american people do
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not want any money spent on taxes. the price being paid for that is not so much an individual price. more a price that involves the health of the population and overall education level of our kids and those things, it is bigger and broader than any individual can take into account, hard to understand. >> how about over here? >> what hope do you see when one political party actually wants to wreck the government? there is a book called the wrecking crew that builds on that theme. i don't see any possibility of compromise anymore. >> the thing about the political system is there are elections.
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and i believe the republican party has a long historic and important role to play in this society. if it didn't exist it would have to be created. there has to be a party that is more pro-business than democrats have been in the past, pro some business and not others. and a party that is skeptical about what government can do. that is why i loved david brooks. he has both of these attitudes more or less in balance. because there are elections, the republican party is going to difficult period of time because they got shellacked in an election year when they expected to win even at the last moment. they expected to win the presidency and also expected to win control of the u.s. senate and both of those evaporated and they lost seats in the house.
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i believe although it will be a difficult process, certainly another round or two of elections like that and the republican party will start to wind its way back into the middle and that is not easy given the makeup of some of the constituencies just as it is not easy for democrats today to say we really have to tweak medicare and social security. we have to. we simply can't continue on this trend line and if you do it the right way in both of those areas, social security is easier than medicare, you can make minor changes and benefits and minor changes more minor than social security and medicare. in revenues. and you can make progress in a way but it is hard for democrats to accept that. the challenge is much more difficult for republicans
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because they have sent this anti-government tiger for so long that it is hard to get off of that back when their principal primary challenges are likely to be people who are saying you compromise too much. that dynamic, one of the most interesting things about the 2012 election is democrats were terrified of the amount of money caldwell and the supertax could raise. it turned out that money did more damage to the republican cause than it did to the democratic party. so i think it won't always be true but that is what happened. >> someone over here. >> today in the georgia general assembly the appropriation committee held its third day of consideration of budget matters, a lot of the department heads testifying the community health
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commissioner and such. governor deal has proposed that department reduce by 3% this year and 5% in 2014 their budgets, that includes medicaid coverage and such. one thing that i noticed, nowhere in the discussion was tobacco use which is a number one preventable cause of disease, disability and death in america, responsible for 19% of deaths this year, medicaid recipients are smokers, that was not mentioned whatsoever. this is a great burden upon our health care systems. it was not mentioned one time. the only time it was mentioned was in public health department that was transferring tobacco
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funds, parts of funding needs. i would like to know your views on tobacco issues, with these discussions because it is such a drain upon the united states, $200 billion each year. >> thank you. the tobacco litigation produce several billion dollars and the state's -- it was what? >> $45 billion. >> the theory was the idea was the states were to use that pot of money for anti-smoking advertising. my state of maine was one of the champions of doing that for quite a long time but we have a new governor now and we are not doing nearly as well. the example you give is a
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classic example. and legislative bodies to do long-term strategic smart long-term strategic thinking and these areas so all is the short-term pressures because they are immediate, they basically get the attention and those long term cost savings get lost. it is not this tobacco, that is a classic case. the tragedy was there was a large pot of money that had been used by every state that got some of its to reduced tobacco use we would be in a better place today by far. right here. >> what part do you think of
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gerrymandering and redrawing district lines have to do with this where politicians have to cater to the far end of their parties and don't have to appeal to the moderates anymore? >> redistricting is a problem. i think it is not the major problem. the reason is this. i think that first of all redistricting is accompanied by something else. the american people are now have been for some period of time sorting themselves by world view, self-reliance, community. they have been moving, they have more or less certain kinds of views the move to read state, a different set of views the move to. states. they even kicked out communities where they feel comfortable. this is kind of what we are doing and so the gerrymandering, the redistricting drives me crazy.
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drives me crazy. when california finally adopted this bipartisan commission to do it, that i chaired, although my democratic friends from california were very upset. at the end of the day you do get more competitive e elections. deeper cultural and political friends and deeper conflict in the american psyche, more responsible than gerrymandering. pretty much the same politics in the u.s. senate, you can't gerrymander the district and in governors's races. certainly in congressional raises and state legislative raises it could be a factor. and both parties are very sophisticated at choosing their voters instead of having voters choose them.
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so i think generally bipartisan commission's i would like to see it all done by separate commissions, and judicial review. and done by state legislature. already talk in virginia about what texas did under tom delay. and the census comes in and different majority in the legislature and do that again, and partisan purposes, and fair in a democracy like ours. >> the polarization about which
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you spoke, and the 2000 presidential election, it seems to some extent there was a perception that maybe the george bush folks told a 2,000 election because of the situation in florida. do you think there is a role in the intensification of the rhetoric we are seeing? >> a whole series of events led of 2. if you look at tom mann, hopefully titled even worse than it looks. not so hopefully. the most respected observers, through the american enterprise institute, tom mann works at brookings, collaborating 30 to
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40 years. and a lot changed when newt gingrich came to congress in 1978. and part of a group with dick cheney and others who came to congress, and tom mann had started a project, interviewing incoming freshmen, selected group, they were going to follow them through and they both right in the book that newt gingrich was the only one who had a coherent plan as a first-year member of congress and that plan was the essentially the republicans had to take back control of the house by basically attacking the house itself as a corrupt institution and that would be the only way republicans could get control. you have that sort of measure. you have frankly things that before 1990 -- 1994, when the
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republicans took control, those latter years, democrats were basically doing some things in terms of procedure on the house floor they would tell you now are over the edge. basically pushing, making the minority really not have the voice that it had in the past and then of course when newt gingrich came in and let republicans to victory in 1994, you have an intensification of the conflict. that is when the environment really became a partisan issue. because that is when business started lining up, didn't want environmental regulation, lined up with republicans and the environmental groups lined up with democrats and that became much more of a split that it had been in the past. there was the clinton impeachment. you can go up both sides and see how there is this
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back-and-forth. what i argue in this boat is like gerrymandering, a factor. you did this to me, i am going to get you. but it is not as the poor as important as this inability in the twenty-first century force to keep in balance these two parts of the american psyche. i think although i don't try to deal with this, i do believe the anxiety that comes especially for men in this work force, a long period of stagnation has a lot to do with why people are receptive to an argument that there are makers and fakers and there are people who are basically taking things from the government that they don't deserve and in the 2012 election what happened was that was the most explicit contrast between self-reliance and better to get there. that was one thing always going
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to stand forgot to about the obama speech, if you look at that speech, that is absolutely a continuation of campaign, this is a complicated world, we're better together, we have big challenges but we have got to stick together whereas the back end read george bush's inaugural in 2005 which was the birdie, freedom, terrorism have sprinkled through the whole speech and one of which he said he wanted an ownership society. those in congress that what you are really offering is and on your own society. this kind of play back and forth. barack obama's first inaugural which is kind of fuzzy, broad, general, sweeping stuff and look at this one and this one is what our challenges are and we are
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going to fix them and the difference the flynn george bush in 2005 and obama in 2013 is astonishing. it seems the difference, the condition of the world it is just astonishing and i would offer those two up for the bookends for the rhetorical differences between these two world news. >> i downloaded the west wing from netflix in the inauguration time and it is incredibly depressing. right in the past week they dealt with a gun control, health care, gay-rights and funding for education. >> they got it all done. >> with no success whatsoever. one of the things they repeatedly stated which obama actually said was we have got to
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raise the level of public debate in this country and let it be our legacy that we are raising the level of debate. can you feel looking at the next four years do you feel hopeful? do you feel like we are fighting -- the west wing was 15 years ago and they are having an insane discussion that we are having this week and nothing -- >> some issues, the reason i didn't write a chapter on gun control is because that is so central to some people's image of what it is to be an american that it depends on where you are. my wife and i, diana, we had this old farmhouse my parents bought. up there, everybody has done this and maine has lots of guns and a low murder rate.
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try to persuade anybody there that gun-control works. it is the wholly different thing in big cities. is completely different and it is the inability to understand across the aisle. the second thing is the slippery slope argument. on both sides. the priest of arguments i hate because it means it suggests nothing can ever be done. i do have some hope. the reason i have some hope is by and large no trend continues forever. this is an important election in terms of the future that obama's first election. competing views what the twenty-first century is all about and we are going to make some progress. not as much as we want.
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we will figure out more if we have a real conversation about the individual and the community in american life so we understand each other better and maybe, just maybe we will wind up with a more pragmatic politics or greater commitment to the common good. those are the last two words in the book. that doesn't give away the ending really. [applause] >> you are watching booktv, 48 hours of nonfiction authors and books every weekend on c-span2. here are some programs to look out for this weekend. at noon in honor of c-span's new series first lady:influence an image which airs at 9:00 p.m. eastern with a look at martha washington we bring you patricia brady detailing the life of the
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very first first lady from the beginning of her relationship with george washington through the revolutionary war. for more information on the first lady ceres visit c-span.org/firstlady. at 4:30 p.m. eastern, peter andrea deals with the history of illegal trade and smuggling in america. than at 1:15 a.m. former d.c. school chancellor michele read discusses her book radical:fighting to put students first. on sunday we sit down with the author of reclaiming fair use and kenneth anderson, author of living with the un. they are professors at american university where booktv recently visited as part of our college series. watch these programs and more all weekend long on booktv. for complete scheduled visit
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booktv.org. >> before 1990, american warships routinely patrol the gulf waters but had little presence in the ground following the iranian revolution of 1979 and the pullout from lebanon a few years later. washington held a limited defense agreement with bahrain but no one else. there were, for example, no u.s. troops in saudi arabia or any pledge to defend that kingdom or kuwait. on the eve of the iraqi invasion tensions in the region grew, american policymakers put to each state the idea that it would be a good time for a joint military exercise. let's show saddam hussein we are in this together. of all the gulf states only one, only one, the united arab emirates even agreed to this limited demonstration of solidarity. they feared it more than saddam hussein of public backlash from cavorting with what iranians
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called a great statement and in fact saddam hussein directly told the united states ambassador before the invasion, quote, he felt secure, secure in the belief that no arab government would ever allow the united states to use their land for that purpose, depending. why was he so secure in his belief? for two reasons. his view that muslim states reject the pollution of american troops on their soil and second because in practical terms none could take or ever done so since 1979. the shot of iran had but that was not a model other arab leaders wish to follow. said on believe the muslim states would reject direct american aid and specifically the stationing of american troops on their soil. in retrospect this was his worst strategic miscalculation. it was hardly an irrational one. for american influence in the persian gulf was offshore rather
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than on site this was not the 30 eighth parallel in korea. this was not the boulder gap in germany, places where american troops were stationed directly in harm's way as to why arab-american results. on the contrary american policymakers for decades at this point long hoped to influence the gulf and keep the oil flowing with as will direct involvement as possible. so long as the soviets didn't interfere in the region themselves, president carter declared in 1980, so long as the iranians didn't stop of the gulf. president reagan declared a few years later american planners were by and large content. it did not matter the cold warriors what happened as long as the oil continued to flow and this is the bush administration's first line as well enunciated a year before saddam hussein's invasion, enunciated in latter part of 1989. national security director 26 which laid out the full scope and rationale of america's
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involvement in the region. this document which you can get if you like, does not use the word freedom, it does not use the word democracy. it does not mention particular leaders or talk about regime types, doesn't talk about radical islam and certainly doesn't mention wm ds. it says instead, quote, access to persian gulf oil is vital to national security interests period. memories of hostages in iran left reason enough to be wary of anything more. this content matters for understanding the widespread american reluctance to do more in response to iraq's invasion. saddam hussein did not threaten that long-range destruction of oil. more over the middle east was not a particularly appealing place for those in american politics foreshores, immediate and long-term history. take secretary of state james
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baker who had this point advise presidents for decades, more importantly had been among the closest friend for decades, he was secretary of state and upon hearing this news contemplating it, getting back to washington. he pulled the president into the oval office, closed the door and told him, quote, i know you are aware of the fact that this has all the ingredients that brought down three of the last five presidents. a hostage crisis, body bags and a full-fledged economic recession caused by $40 oil. in ft, we need to recall the george bush decision to move american troops to the gulf was hardly embrace across-the-board of american politics in 1990. at the same time we should recall congressional opposition to the war was far from being partisan. it was conducted outbreak true sense of concern.
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as senate majority leader george mitchell argued the risks of active american intervention were great. he said, quote, these include an unknown number of casualties and death, billions of dollars spent, greatly disrupted oil supply, oil price increases, a war possibly widening to israel, turkey rather allies, possible long-term occupation of iraq, increasing stability in the persian gulf region, long-lasting arab american amity and possible return to american isolationism. looking back and mitchell's warnings we can see few of those things occurred in the immediate aftermath of the persian gulf war but arguably all of mitchell's years, untold casualties, billions of dollars loss, disaffected allies and american hostility in a new isolationism all returned to haunt the united states. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org.